The poker action is already running at a heated pace and it is only the third week of January. Starting on January 19th, the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, CA, starts up a month long celebration of poker with the 2006 version of the L. A. Poker Classic, which has shown in the past to be one of the most hotly contested tournaments in any given year.
For those of you who may have forgotten, last year's L. A. Poker Classic was the "coming out" party for Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who stunned the poker world with his breakthrough victory as he outlasted the 535 player field to capture the crown and the $1.8 million first place check. In 2004, it was another newcomer who made some noise as Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari took down the championship of one of the World Poker Tour's most prestigious events. This year's Championship Event should be one of the best tickets for fans of poker and will kick off on February 16th.
Also featured during the L. A. Poker Classic is the only "invitation only" event on the World Poker Tour. The WPT Invitational brings together the brightest stars from film and television and pits them against the toughest professional poker players from around the world. Last year's Invitational featured many celebrities, such as actors James Woods, Tobey Maguire, Mimi Rogers and Jennifer Tilly, who went on to even greater success after last year's Invitational. The WPT Invitational begins on February 22nd after the completion of the Championship Event.
This year's L. A. Poker Classic will feature twenty eight events, including the $10,000 Championship Event and the World Poker Tour Invitational. In a move against the trend that many casinos have shown in the recent past, the Classic will feature tournaments that challenge the entirety of a player's skills by having an assortment of events rather than just No-Limit. Limit, Pot Limit, Seven Card, Omaha and both Hi/Lo versions of Seven Card and Omaha will be featured, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to the Championship Event's $10,000 fee.
Two new events are also coming onto the tournament schedule this year. With women becoming a more frequent face at the tables, the L. A. Poker Classic will for the first time feature a Ladies' Only No-Limit Tournament on January 28th. This should be popular and well attended as some of the best female players come to the table for combat among the fairer sex. Also, with the Commerce's proximity to Hollywood, it is possible that several female celebrities could step to the felt and attempt to follow in the steps of WPT Ladies' Night Champion Tilly. On Valentine's Day, there will be a Tag Team tournament, where teams of two will change out as the blinds increase and attempt to capture the championship in a unique format.
Besides the excellent tournament action, the Commerce will continue to spread its usual fantastic array of table games throughout the time of the Classic. With over 200 tables in the casino that spread anything from "normal" poker games to Mexican Poker, Pai Gow and other California games, the side action should be incredible as players either attempt to either build their bankrolls up to get in the tournament or recoup their losses from it. Get ready for the L. A. Poker Classic starting today; it should be one of the best tournaments of 2006. For more information, be sure to check out the Commerce Casino website at commercecasino.com.
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